U.S. intelligence officials thwart the latest al-Qaida threat
It was presumably to be an act of terror that al-Qaida hoped would serve as a gruesome memorial to Osama bin Laden, who was killed a year ago in Pakistan by Navy Seals. And ina way, the latest airplane bomb plot served to recall that Americanvictory against terrorism.
The bomb threat was thwarted by U.S. intelligence before the danger became imminent. Agents with the CIA seized the bomb before the Yemen-basedterrorist purchased the ticket for a flight.
The bomb’s technology reportedly was similar to that used by the so-calledUnderwear Bomber who intended to destroy a jetliner heading to Detroit onChristmas Day 2009.
But al-Qaida’s explosives technicians had reportedly made improvements tothe device. It demonstrates the ongoing challenge to American security —and, in this instance, the capacity to meet that challenge.
And it serves as a further demonstration that the war on terror is far from being won. The latest threat was made public by The Associated Pressnot long after the Department of Homeland Security declared: “We have noindication of any specific, credible threats or plots against the U.S. tiedto the one-year anniversary of bin Laden’s death.”
On Monday, a White House spokesman praised the intelligence coup. An official U.S. announcement regarding the defusing of the latest threat had beenplanned for today.
There was another reminder of the American response to the terror threat onSunday.
Fahd al-Quso, a senior al-Qaida leader, was killed by a drone missile in Yemen. He was one of plotters of the 2000 bombingof the USS Cole in the harbor of Aden, Yemen, that killed 17 Americansailors.
He was believed to be the successorof one-time al-Qaida leader Anwaral-Awlaki, who was killed by an airstrike last year.
Bin Laden has proteges who will continue to ply their heartless vocation aslong as they draw breath. As much as anything, that defines the ongoing U.S. challenge to meetthe terror threat.